When one sets out to build their own Great, Growing Company, usually, the staffing solutions that are enacted revolve around solving a shortcoming. 

You need an administrative assistant, so you go track one down.

You need a sales person, so you hire one.

You need a bookkeeper, a cook, a programmer ... and so on ... so you cast around, find someone who can do the job, then hire them.

The problem with this rather shortsighted hiring technique is that you often only attract people who are hunting jobs right then.

Chances are, the best cook in the world isn't looking for a job right now - they already have one!  Ditto for nearly every other position you might need in your own enterprise.  The challenge is that, in small business, when you need to hire more staff, it is usually because your company is at a critical level and nearly any help is preferable to the looming 20-hour days you'll be working if you don't get some assistance.

In the restaurant business, this is known as "warm body" hiring - anyone who can fog a mirror can apply and be offered a job.

As an owner, you can never let your company get to this stage.  I know, I know, accidents happen and sometimes situations occur that are far outside the norm, but you have to make the effort to never let it get to this stage - the costs are far too high.

The restaurant business considers 150% turnover each year to be acceptable, which it is not.  (For those of you not familiar with turnover percentages, this means that the total number of staff members hired and fired, represented as a percentage.  Obviously, no small business can afford to constantly be training new staff members while losing current employees at a rate approaching this!)

So how do you attract the people you need before you need them?  Simple.  You need to always be looking for them and know where they are - not to "steal" them, but to be aware of when they are ready for a career change.

An example of this has to do with a friend of mine who owns a small business in Texas.  The kid who cut his grass every week was working through school to become a CPA but worked for a lawn service all through college.  Every week, right on time, here's the kid, cutting the grass, edging the driveway, spreading mulch, you name it. 

Every week, the yard looked perfect when this young man left.  After graduation, the kid left to move to Dallas and join a big firm, but my friend asked that he stay in touch.

Guess who didn't like working for a big firm and is now my friend's CPA?  The attention to detail this young man had shown in cutting the grass is still there in managing tax liabilities.  Don't be scared to look in odd places for your next sales professional - the young lady waiting tables at the corner café may have exactly the skills needed (with your training processes, of course) to fill the shoes that stand empty in your company. 

Sometimes the people who are perfect for your company are hiding in plain site and all it takes is thinking outside the box when it comes to understanding who you need and where they are.

Published on: Apr 7, 2018